Experience the food, wine and tranquility of Tuscany, Italy on this all-inclusive, small-group vacation in Chianti, the heart of Tuscany. Open your appetite to the bold flavors of the region and its wine. Enjoy the evening light in the countryside that will inspire, if not meditation and philosophy, definitely more wine drinking. On this week-long culinary vacation, you’ll stay at a luxury Tuscan villa surrounded by the rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside. In addition to three Tuscan cooking classes, you’ll spend the week enjoying the bounty of Tuscany’s food and wine. Visit some of the most beautiful villages in all of Italy; those perched atop the rolling hills and others nestled amongst the vines. Visit the cities of San Gimignano and Siena and take a drive through the UNESCO Heritage Val d’Orcia while stopping in Pienza and Montalcino. This vacation provides it all.
May 27 – June 3, 2017
June 3 – 10, 2017 (FULL)
September 23 – 30, 2017
Maximum Group Size: 12 people
Price: $3,950 (based on double occupancy)
**Single Occupancy Supplement charge: $700 per person
FOOD LOVER’S IN FLORENCE EXTENSION PACKAGE: Extend your Tuscany visit with 3 nights in Florence. Ask about the 2- or 3-night food, wine & art extension package before or after your Tuscany vacation.
**Airfare, transportation to Florence (if flying in from elsewhere in Italy/Europe), travel insurance and expenses of a personal nature (souvenirs and other personal items) are not included in the vacation package price.
We’ll have three full-meal Tuscan cooking classes; one with a local Italian mamma, one at a wine estate and one at our villa with Chef Kathy. In each class you’ll create typical Tuscan dishes. Receive a recipe booklet at the end of your vacation that will include recipes for all dishes you made during the week.
The vacation will include unforgetable activities immersing you not only in the best food and wine of the area, but also the culture. We’ll visit four wineries and learn about the various types of wines of the region: Chianti, Brunello, Vino Nobile and others. We’ll visit a special and unique farm where they make olive oil and wine and raise the famous Cinta Senese (Tuscan pigs). Here the owners will take us on a tour of their farm and we’ll feast on the farm’s products for lunch. The week includes guided visits to two Tuscan food markets and a visit to a Pienza cheese maker to learn and taste the famous regional cheese. Enjoy a daily gelato because we’ve included many gelato stops during your vacation.
Day 1: Arrival day – Arrive and Relax at your villa in the Chianti Countryside – Wine reception and welcome dinner
We’ll have an afternoon pick up scheduled for those flying to Florence’s airport or meet you at Florence’s Santa Maria Novella train station at 3pm. From there we’ll drive to our countryside villa, stopping on the way at the Piazzale Michaelangelo for a breathtaking view of the Florence skyline.
You’ll have the afternoon to get settled into your room at the villa and to explore the grounds or relax poolside. We’ll have an antipasti buffet set up if you need a snack before our evening welcome wine reception and dinner at a local wine estate.
Day 2: Winery visit and lunch at the winery – Full-meal cooking class and Dinner at a Wine Estate
We’ll have a guided visit and lunch at a winery just outside of the village. In the evening, we’ll have our first full-meal cooking class at a wine estate.
Day 3: A Day of Chianti Wine and Castles: Two winery visits with lunch at a winery
We’ll spend the day exploring spectacular hill towns and medieval castles of Chianti and have two guided visits and tastings at local wineries. The picturesque villages of Radda and Castellina in Chianti are also on the itinerary for today. We’ll have lunch at one of the wineries.
Day 4: Cooking Class with Lunch and an Afternoon in San Gimignano
We’ll meet with a local Italian mamma for a morning cooking class. Lunch will be what we’ve created. We’ll spend the afternoon exploring the hilltop town of San Gimignano, starting with a walk around the city with our local guide. After our walk, you’ll have free time to explore and shop in San Gimignano. We’ll have a special pizza dinner in tonight.
Day 5: A Day in Siena – Market Day and Guided walking tour – Enoteca Lunch in Siena – Evening Cooking Class
We’ll spend the day in Siena and start at its big Wednesday market. Our local guide will take us on a historic walking tour of the city. We’ll have a light lunch at an Enoteca. You’ll have the afternoon free to explore and enjoy Siena own your own.
In the evening we’ll return to the villa for a full-meal cooking class with Chef Kathy.
Day 6: Val D’Orcia – Visits to Montalcino & Pienza – Walking tour of Pienza and cheese tasting – Winery visit with tasting – Light dinner at the villa
We’ll spend the morning in the hilltop town of Montepulciano with a guided walking tour with our local guide.
Our driver will take us on a spectacularly scenic drive through the Val D’Orcia toward Montalcino. We’ll visit a winery and taste the renowned Brunello di Montalcino. Then we’ll visit the “ideal Renaissance city” of Pienza (designed by Pope Pius II). Pienza is also popular for its pecorino cheese. We’ll have a cheese tasting and then head back to the villa for a relaxing evening with a light dinner at the villa.
Day 7: Full-meal cooking class – Farewell Dinner
We’ll visit a local village on its market day, shopping for ingredients for our full-meal cooking class. Lunch will be what we made during class. After lunch, you’ll have time to relax at the villa enjoying the views of the Chianti valley and possibly take a dip in the pool. We’ll meet back up in the evening for our farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 8 Arrivederci Tuscany
After breakfast, transportation will take you to the Florence airport or train station. Our van will leave at 9:30am.
**Sequence of classes, activities and excursions may vary. The final itinerary will be given to each guest on the first day of the vacation. Whenever there are local festivals or events happening during a tour, we will try to include them with adjustments to the itinerary to enhance your vacation experience.